Francis’ pontificate has been full of unique moments that have become symbols and messages in these ten years of teaching, among which the place chosen for his first trip stands out, the Italian island of Lampedusa, considered the gateway to Europe for migrants, or his historic meeting in 2016 at the Havana airport with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Cyril.
Here are the top ten highlights:
1.- THE WASHING OF THE FEET IN THE PRISONS
A pope is seen on his knees washing the feet of young inmates on Holy Thursday March 28, 2013, including two women, a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic, in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo penitentiary center for minors in Rome, It was the first gesture that made one think that Francis was a pope with a different style.
2.- TRIP TO LAMPEDUSA
Pope Francis chose an unexpected place for his first trip: the island of Lampedusa, in Sicily, the closest to the African coast and considered the gateway to Europe for migrants in search of a future. It was July 8, 2013, and from there he sent his message about the "globalization of indifference" that would lead him, over the years, to denounce on numerous occasions the indifference towards those who come from afar.
3.- THE REVOLUTIONARY ENCYCLICAL LAUDATO SI’
On May 24, 2015, the pope published his groundbreaking second encyclical: Era "Laudato si’, on the care of the common home", where for the first time a Pope spoke extensively and as a topic that the Church has to deal with the defense of the environment and climate change. He has become an environmental manifesto for the world.
4.- THE HISTORICAL MEETING WITH CYRIL
On February 12, 2016, Pope Francis made a stopover in Cuba before his visit to Mexico to meet the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Cyril at the Havana airport. It was the first meeting of the leaders of the two Churches after the schism of 1054 and after it, and with the war in the Ukraine, it has remained only a memory and an attempt, for some that failed, to come closer.
5.- THE TRIP TO CHILE
The Pope’s visit to Chile in January 2018 was considered the real dividing line in Francis’ pontificate and his fight against abuse of minors by members of the Church. In Chile there was a real rejection of the visit by most of its inhabitants due to abuse scandals, and the position of the Pope in defense of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, accused of cover-up, hardened opinions even more.
Upon his return, he commissioned a historic investigation, and in April 2018, the pope acknowledged having committed "serious valuation errors" In the case of Barros, he met with the victims of the pedophile priest Fernando Karadima and summoned all the Chilean bishops to relieve them of their position.
6.- THE EXPULSION OF MC CARRICK
On February 18, 2019 and after an investigation, the former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick was sentenced to resign from the clerical state for corruption and abuse, accusations that splashed Pope Francis, after Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, told him accused of having covered up. Viganó became the leader of a conservative wing of the Church against Francisco.
7.- KISS THE FEET OF THE LEADERS OF SOUTH SUDAN
In another of Francis’ diplomatic gestures, on April 12, 2019, in order to encourage the peace process, the pope knelt down and kissed the feet of the warring leaders in South Sudan whom he had met in the Vatican. .
8.- PRAYING IN AN EMPTY SAN PEDRO SQUARE IN THE HEIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC
On March 28, 2020, the pope arrived alone in a completely empty St. Peter’s Square under torrential rain to pray for the world facing the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure that it would only get out of it if everyone rowed together.
9.- AMONG THE RUINS OF MOSUL
In March 2021, Pope Francis traveled to Iraq and his image praying among the ruins of the city of Mosul, a few meters from the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul, a symbol of the rise and fall of the Islamic State, went around the world.
10.- THE HAND ON THE COFFIN OF BENEDICT XVI
With the powerful image of Francis placing his hands on the coffin of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, after the funeral the “age of the two popes” came to an end." and a new phase of the pontificate was opened.